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MFS adds new dimension to economy

Published : 19 Feb 2022 09:15 PM | Updated : 20 Feb 2022 04:08 PM

Mobile financial services (MFS) have added a new dimension to Bangladesh's growing economy as a record number of transactions were made in the mobile banking services in the outgoing year despite the Corona epidemic.

Experts said mobile banking is now an easy and popular service in the country due to the convenience of sending money instantly. 

As a result, the number of customers and transactions in mobile banking are increasing day by day, they said.

The MFS has now become an essential part of the daily financial needs of a large section of the country's population, they mentioned.

The mobile phone in hand is now meeting the cash needs of the people for various daily needs, they said adding that, at present a large portion of the population of the country subscribes to mobile financial services, which is ensuring the economic growth sustainable by expanding financial inclusion, they added.

Because of its hassle-free services at minimum costs, mobile banking has become popular among the people, especially Bangladeshi expatriates, who can send their money home even in remote areas, they mentioned.

Mobile Banking refers to providing financial services to a huge population across the country on a mobile device, especially in remote areas through engaging agents.

At the end of December 2021, the number of registered customers in mobile banking stood at 11.14 crore, up 1.21 crore over the previous year. In 2020, this number was 9.93 crore.

In the year 2021, a record of about Tk 7,70,000 crore were transacted in the mobile banking services, up  Tk 2,08,770 crore or 37.20 percent. This figure was Tk 5,61,396 crore in 2020.

At present 13 companies in the country including bKash, Rocket, MCash, Upay are providing financial services (MFS) through mobile banking. 

The postal service ‘Nagad’ is also providing similar services.

Mobile banking is being used for small transactions especially payment of various service bills including electricity, WASA, gas, telephone, school-college salary, online shopping, government allowance, pension, purchase of bus, train to plane ticket, payment of insurance premium, mobile recharge, various grants, assistance and so on. 

Nowadays, everyone is thinking of providing mobile financial services. At present it is very easy to bring money from bank accounts as mobile banking. 

Money is also being deposited in the bank from the mobile banking account.

Md Serajul Islam, Bangladesh Bank Executive Director and spokesperson, said the coverage of the MFS in the country has increased by formulating policies and utilizing technology.

He said banks are spreading in remote areas of the country through inclusive banking services including mobile banking and agent banking.

As a result, the economy of Bangladesh is gradually being transformed into a 'cashless' society.

He said, “We have benefited from technological advancement in the banking sector in the Corona epidemic.”

Dr Atiur Rahman, a former governor of Bangladesh Bank, told Bangladesh Post, “Mobile banking plays a crucial role in delivering banking services to remote areas across the country.”

From the idea of Digital Bangladesh, agent banking is bringing a revolutionary change in the banking sector, he added.

Because of its hassle-free services and low cost, agent banking has become popular among the people, especially expatriates, who can send their money home even in remote areas.

It also is helping to increase remittance by encouraging expatriates to send their hard-earned money through legal channels, instead of illegal ‘Hundi’, Dr Atiur said.

Robiul Islam, 35, who lives in a villager in Rajbari district, told Bangladesh Post, “Mobile banking has helping us to deposit money and we can easily make payment to buy something.”

He said, “I would face trouble receiving the remittance as the bank was far away from my home.”

Islam said the family would not get money within a short time of sending of the remittance even in emergency situation. “Now, we receive remittance instantly through agent banking.”

Many people like Robiul Islam expressed their satisfaction with the availability of mobile banking services at rural areas.

However, Bangladesh Bank launched mobile banking activities in 2010. Mobile Financial Services started its journey in the country on March 31, 2011 through the mobile banking services of Dutch-Bangla Bank in the private sector. 

Soon after, BRAC Bank launched a mobile banking service named ‘Bkash’ as a subsidiary. At present, Bkash has the lion's share of the mobile banking market.

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